APAD: Be Nobody’s Darling, by Alice Walker

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

Is it possible that a middle road exists today? Do we dare continue to press against the confines that were so real two decades ago, or three? Four? Do we dare stop? Has an inch been won for gender and race? Considering that gender and race are still such controversial topics, maybe an inch is all we’ve gained.

Perhaps some place might exist today, a place on which I can stand that is neither for pacifying men nor the masses. Maybe standing alone isn’t a selfish act.

Humans are so equally complicated and fickle, too often fierce then complacent. I wonder if we’d recognize when progress actually showed up.

Today will be a day for reading Walker. For contemplating an era of poet warriors and tumultuous change.


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